The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 300 million people worldwide, including children, suffer from asthma. The main symptoms of respiratory disease are shortness of breath, dry cough, wheezing or noise in the chest and anxiety.
Among the options for improving this condition and other discomforts caused by respiratory diseases, is swimming with Lifeguard certification near me. To understand more about the benefits of sport for breathing, we spoke with pediatrician and pediatric pulmonology and allergy specialist Dr. Alfonso Alvarez.
Breathing benefits of swimming
1) What benefits does swimming bring to breathing?
Several scientific studies have demonstrated the benefits of swimming for respiratory problems. Swimming is a complete sport and mainly helps to strengthen the entire respiratory muscles, facilitating breathing and improving the symptoms of respiratory diseases, such as asthma, for example.
It stretches all the intercostal muscles, opening and closing the space between the ribs, moves the rib cage through arm movements and works the abdominal muscles Lifeguard certification near me, facilitating diaphragmatic breathing. All these movements are coordinated with the breath.
The movement of opening and closing the space between the ribs facilitates the inspiratory and expiratory muscles, that is, it fills the lungs on inspiration and empties on expiration. Strengthening the diaphragm is also fundamental in this process.
Another benefit of swimming is the increased humidity in the airways, resulting from the high humidity of the inspired air at the water level, which reduces the loss of water through breathing and decreases the viscosity of the mucus in the airways.
2) From what age is it recommended to start swimming?
Studies show that cardiorespiratory benefits occur from 2 years of age. Before that, swimming will only function as recreation, with no benefits in relation to breathing. From the age of 2, the benefits of swimming are already well proven.
3) Does swimming help with all respiratory problems?
As swimming strengthens the muscles responsible for breathing, it ends up helping in most respiratory problems. As pediatrician Dr. Jelena de Souza Ferreira, sport plays a fundamental role in children’s health, because “obesity, sedentary lifestyle and stress are some of the problems that can affect children who practice little or no physical activity.
Aiming at a better quality of life, swimming Lifeguard certification near me for children is an excellent physical activity”, she highlights. The sport performed in open environments, that is, swimming pools not covered helps in the prevention and recovery of diseases.
It is indicated for children who suffer from respiratory diseases, such as asthma and bronchitis, as the moisture of the water lubricates the respiratory tract, making it breathe better, and orthopedic problems, reinforces the pediatrician. The various breathing exercises performed during children’s swimming lessons strengthen the diaphragm,
4) Is it also effective for adults who have had the problem for many years?
Yes, it is effective in conditions like Asthma and Emphysema. It is also worth remembering that the practice of sports awakens in the child the desire to have a healthy lifestyle, which affects other aspects of life, such as food.
Another important aspect, from a pediatric point of view, is that every child should learn to swim, as a matter of safety. Therefore, the child should start swimming, and when he/she knows how to swim, if he/she wants to, he/she can change the physical activity.
5) Does swimming help to improve or also prevent?
The studies clearly demonstrate the benefits when the patient already has symptoms. It is not yet clear whether swimming Lifeguard certification near me will help prevent the onset of respiratory symptoms.
On the other hand, swimming will help prevent postural problems, and as postural problems can impair breathing, it can be said that swimming will play a preventive role in this regard.
6) In addition to swimming, is any other sport indicated to help with respiratory problems?
Yes, in fact any aerobic sport will help with respiratory problems. In this way, sports such as football, ballet, jazz, basketball and tennis will also bring benefits. It is even preferable, for example, for the child to play football or dance with enthusiasm than to swim reluctantly.
It is therefore very important to consider the child’s preference when choosing a sport. The direction that parents should give is for aerobic sports to be performed, as sports such as martial arts will have lesser benefits in this regard.
The exception is for children with Asthma who have exercise-triggered bronchospasm. It is known that swimming is the exercise that least induces bronchospasm, a fact demonstrated in bronchoprovocation tests, performed with different types of physical exercises. Other exercises, such as running and cycling, trigger bronchospasm of greater intensity. In this way, swimming becomes the most suitable sport for children with these characteristics.
Practicing a sport such as swimming at an early age can provide several improvements to the health of the body. It can also be a good way to work on psychological aspects such as discipline, self-confidence, physical and cognitive development of the child Lifeguard certification near me.
In addition to strengthening muscles, it helps with breathing, works on the notion of temporal space and develops psychomotor skills. According to pediatrics, the area of medicine that takes care of child care, swimming is considered the only physical activity that can be practiced without contraindications at all ages.
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